thorns, briers, and sins


Thorns also and thistles shall [the ground] bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;”
(Genesis 3:18-19a)

When we moved into our home in Charleswood we had every intention of planting and managing a good size vegetable garden in the back yard. After two years fighting a losing battle with weeds, we decided to change our garden into more lawn; our gardening efforts are now confined to a few (more manageable) wooden garden boxes (thanks Ernie and Mel for your help building them!). Even there the weeds somehow appear and threaten to take over. The Bible explains where these annoying, objectionable things come from. They came as part of God’s punishment for Adam’s willful, intentional, and deliberate sin (1 Timothy 2:14). Throughout the Bible we see thorns and briers associated with sin and rebellion. God warned Judah that because of her sins, “every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns” (Isaiah 7:23-24). Earlier, Judge Gideon used thorns and briers to scourge the men of Succoth who had been disinterested, apathetic, and unhelpful in God’s cause (Judges 8:1-21). Still earlier, God called the great patriarch, Abraham, to offer his only begotten son as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:17). We know that the whole sacrificial system came into being because of man’s sin; God had to cover guilty Adam and Eve will the skins of innocent animals killed in their stead (Genesis 3:21). This inaugurated a system of animal sacrifices required to come into God’s immediate presence (Genesis 4:1-4). Abraham was so submitted to God’s authority that he was willing to offer his own son as a blood sacrifice. This he did, fully convinced that God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill his promises concerning him (Hebrews 11:17-19). Before Abraham could carry out his difficult, heart wrenching task, the Angel of the LORD called out to him: “Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Genesis 22:11-12). Moses tells us that at that moment, Abraham spotted “a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13). The whole amazing episode speaks to us of the substitutionary, atoning death of Christ, whose head the Romans crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:29). We rejoice to know that the Blessed Redeemer is also the coming Restorer of all things (Acts 3:21), and we look forward to the day when He will lift the curse (Revelation 22:3) and confirm the world in sinless (weed free!) perfection. Maranatha!

God bless,

pastor john